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“One has to develop a holistic plan for systematic investment in upgradation of material and human resources”
Gaur Dattatreya

Production Planning & Control “Getting smarter for the best IoT infrastructure”

Dec 1, 2015

…says Gaur Dattatreya, Vice President and Head of Business Unit, Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions, in this interaction with Maria Jerin, while highlighting the company’s endeavour on capitalising technology enablers for smart manufacturing. He also details about the manufacturing ecosystem that is prevailing in India as well as the roadmap for smart manufacturers. Excerpts…

What was the outcome of the recent visits of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel to Bosch facilities in Bangalore?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel took a tour of the facility at Bosch to get a very good view of how successfully and consistently German technology is supporting products in India. We showcased our state-of-the-art automotive products as well as our foray in the healthcare domain with the new India specific product for eye care. We also demonstrated our world class manufacturing capabilities and most importantly - our trainee development program.

What is smart manufacturing? Is it the next wave of industrial revolution? How does it link with smart city concept?

Smart manufacturing means increasing the use of IT in manufacturing areas. It helps the companies get more flexible, increase speed and improve quality. It goes beyond electronic control of machines and integrates digitally, the entire value stream of production – logistics, procurement, material flow, managing inventories and so on. For example, the RFID chip on the part that is being produced, will help identify itself to the machine, which will in turn, know which tools and process to be applied. This takes flexibility to a new level where potentially every part that is being produced on a line could be different.

According to you, what are the technology enablers for smart manufacturing? How Robert Bosch capitalises on such technologies as a strategic asset for growth?

Industry 4.0 combined with traditional manufacturing along with IT and the Internet of Things (IoT) are the key enablers for the transformation in the manufacturing sector. Global companies are introducing pilot projects in India on Industry 4.0. Initial results show up to 30% productivity increase, significant cost reduction and reduction of stock. At Bosch in India, we are investing in all of our 14 manufacturing plants to make them smart manufacturing locations in a time bound fashion. Additionally, we are offering services to Indian industry to help them in their transformation towards smart manufacturing. Adaptation to latest IoT technology and upgrading our existing machinery is a continuous process for us striving to achieve the best results in the world. We want to set an example of the best IoT infrastructure in the country and continue to churn out leading quality products.

What do you think on the network of suppliers and vendors called as manufacturing ecosystem that is prevailing in India? Is the country ready to leverage smart manufacturing concept?

All the technology pieces for smart manufacturing are available. Manufacturing ecosystem has to gear up and get into the digitally integrated environment. Each member of the ecosystem is required to develop their respective roadmap for transformation. The good news is that for integration you require additional joining pieces, you don’t have to throw away your existing lines.

How Robert Bosch is keeping up pace on skill development to act as a knowledge provider for next generation manufacturing?

Skill development is an important part of the new system. When automation increases, we will require less number of people (but highly trained ones) to operate lines than we require now. At the same time, additional roles will emerge that will require different skills. Skill development and retraining is a necessary part of smart manufacturing. It will not mean reduced number of jobs; on the contrary there will be more demand for skilled people.

Your company recently announced ` 650 crore of investment in Indian operations to implement connected production in all 14 manufacturing plants across the country. Is it a part of your strategy to align your plans with “Make in India” initiative by the Govt of India?

As a part of the ‘Make in India’ business initiative, the Indian government aims to advance industrialisation and modernise production in the country. Connected manufacturing offers great opportunities to faster react to market requirements, reduce manufacturing downtimes, improve efficiency of supply chains and increase productivity factors, which all can contribute to increase the competitiveness of the Indian industry over the long-term.

Can you comment on the roadmap for smart manufacturers?

Roadmap is required for every manufacturer to transform and become smart manufacturer. Depending on the state of current automation and the desired position, one has to develop a holistic plan for systematic investment in upgradation of material and human resources. If improving flexibility, speed, quality or productivity is on your agenda, start your transformational journey now.

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